Here’s something you might not know — that dealing with a house fire more often than not first requires dealing with water and mold damage. Sound strange? Well, just think about it for a second…
What do firefighters use to get rid of fires? They use water, of course — lots of it. Unfortunately, this water usually creates a flood of sorts. This flood leads to water damage and the formation of mold. It’s practically inevitable.
What makes this situation so frustrating is that you cannot even deal with the fire damage (the damage created by soot and smoke) until you first deal with the water and mold damage. So how exactly do you go about doing this?
Professional Water Restoration
Your best bet is to seek the services of a water restoration company. These entities are trained to deal with water and mold damage. In fact, your even better bet would be to sign up for service with a full-service, professional restoration company, i.e., one capable of dealing with water, mold AND fire damage.
Obviously, investing in a professional restoration job means spending lots of money. However, there are many benefits to doing this:
- Experience: Restoration specialists spend a significant amount of time being trained before they even enter into the industry. Furthermore, the average on-the-job specialist has years of experience dealing with water damage. How much experience do you have?
- Equipment: Specialists also carry with them all the equipment needed to tackle mold safely. It’s typically not very smart to deal with mold without first putting on a respirator, a pair of goggles, a pair of loves and some very thick clothing. Specialists also have access to water- and mold-removal tools like sump pumps, dehumidifiers, and HEPA filter vacuums.
- Regulations: Very severe mold infestations must be disposed of as defined by certain regulations. Failing to follow the regulations could get you in trouble. Unless you are an expert on regulations, why take the risk?
Manual Water Restoration
If you prefer to perform the restoration yourself, be prepared to work very hard. Also be prepared to work quickly. And also, please avoid trying to do it all yourself. You need a team of at least six people. Otherwise, it’s going to take you so long to clean up the mess that the damage will likely worsen.
The first thing you need to do is protect yourself by turning off the power and putting on some safety gear. The last thing you want to do is either get electrocuted or get sick. Avoid taking any risks and play smart.
Aerate Your Home
We’re going to assume you don’t have a commercial-grade dehumidifier. With that said, you’re going to need to accelerate the drying process. The best way to do this is by opening every single window. Also turn on any battery-operated fans, if you have them.
Get Rid Of The Water
Once the power is turned off and you’re protected, it’s time to get rid of all the water. The easiest way to do this is via a sump pump. The hardest way to do it is with a mop and bucket. The method you choose is going to be dependent on both your budget, as well as the extent of the damage. Regardless, you have to get rid of the water before you can go any further!
After you get rid of the water, you then need to get rid of the mold. Be very careful with this step. Mishandling mold can ultimately make you sick. The only thing you’ll really be able to do is slowly but surely scoop and dispose of all the mold in your home by scraping, scrubbing and whatnot. It’s a painstaking process, but it’s what’s required. It would also help, mind you, if you have access to HEPA filter vacuum cleaners.
Last but not least, you need to repair your home. This might mean installing new drywall, replacing laminate floor planks, drying out your carpet, etc. The type of repair required will differ based on the type of objects and materials affected. Realize upfront that you will not be able to repair everything. Some objects are going to have to be discarded. Realize also that the longer it takes you to get to this step, the more likely it is that your possessions are not going to be salvageable.